Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The year in review


It's been just over a year since I started this thing, and since I'm not working this week, I figured I'd do a little yearly wrap-up/question-answering thing.

Basically, I started this blog last August after my dad gave me a digital camera for my 30th birthday. (And since so many people ask, it's a Canon Powershot SD 300).

I just turned 31 on Friday.

In the meantime, sometime around March I think, I got a book deal with Villard, an imprint of Random House.

Also in the meantime, over a million "unique visitors" (whatever that means) have looked at this blog.

I'm in the process of finishing up the first draft of said book, and these next few weeks are the final push, so I will probably be driving the cab even less while this is happening.

I've decided along the way that I'm not sure what's more difficult: driving a taxi in New York or writing a book about driving a taxi in New York.

Let's see. What else?

Even though I just renewed my hack license last month, I don't plan on driving the cab forever, or even for too much longer for that matter. But, then again, I've been saying that for almost a year already, so who knows. This job is like quicksand in that it just has a way of sucking you in, it seems.

I did my first public reading last month as part of a fundraiser for the Taxi Worker's Alliance. Despite my utter stagefright (I'm more afraid of reading in front of live actual people than I am of driving a cab at night in New York), it seemed to go pretty well and the Taxi Worker's Alliance gave me a free t-shirt. A week after this, a friend of mine took a cab home to Brooklyn and had Kevin Fitzpatrick, one of the organizers, as her cabbie. When she told him she saw him at the fundraiser, he gave her the ride for free and refused to take any money from her at all.

I will be doing another reading on October 17th at the Educational Alliance as part of a series called "Writers at the Alliance." I'm already scared to death.

Anyway -- and this is where it gets a little corny -- I just wanted to say that driving the cab these past few years, and even doing this blog for the past year, has made me feel brave enough to try anything, to embark on other adventures, and to push for a variety of new experiences in my life. That was the whole point of getting my hack license to begin with: I wanted to try something new and completely foreign to me while making a living and without having to settle and commit to some shitty "career" for the rest of my life. And it has worked out pretty well so far, all things considered.

Everyone knows I'm not in love with driving a cab -- I mean, it is indeed a love/hate relationship, but the hate definitely wins out as the more prevalent feeling. Still it's been precisely these ups and downs that have brought me the greatest amount of joy, heartbreak, and of course, aggravation, none of which I ever would have experienced to this degree doing any other job.

I'm still driving, though much less these days, as some of you have noticed. On top of trying to finish the book, I am in the process of trying to figure out what my next step will be job-wise. So, who knows, you may log on to New York Hack one day only to discover that it's the blog of an ex-cabbie turned animal welfare cop, or Red Cross worker, or Peace Corps activist, or weirdo ranch hand, or whatever else I may try my hand at in the future.

So, anyway, this is just to say happy new year! And thanks for reading.


***[UPDATE: Because there seems to be some misunderstanding here, I would like to clarify that I have not quit yet! This was not supposed to be a farewell message or anything. I'm still driving and will probably pick up more shifts once the stupid UN General Assembly is over later this month (even though it hasn't even convened yet), because I no longer have the heart for that kind of traffic (see September 2005 Archive for why). Anyway, yeah. You can't get rid of me that easily.]***

102 comments:

R2K said...

It has been a good year : )

Zoltar Panaflex said...

I think you'll be damned good at whatever you decide to do. I've greatly enjoyed your blog, and admire your attitude.

Happy Birthday!

NYD said...

No matter what you do or where you go in the future, as long as you are writing about it in your blog I'll be reading it and cheering you on.

Thanks for all the great tales.

Tara said...

Congratulations and thanks MP... and this is where I start tossing the corn ball around... on not settling - as entirely too many of us do - and for being a inspiration that it's never to late to 'unsettle' yourself.

Best of luck

Heloisa said...

i'll keep reading, anyway !!! hello from Brazil !!!

razboynik said...

Great blog !
Whatever you decide to do please keep us informed on this blog.
Cheers.

pelican1 said...

Couldn't agree more with the others. Am a big fan, and look forward to your adventures as a Montana cowhand - or whatever.

Anonymous said...

to paraphrase somebody, you've had 31 years to write your first book...you'll probably have six months to write the second one...still I can't wait to see it,and I started a blog on mySpace 'cos of you..

tangerine said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

I have enjoyed your site for the last 6 months for your writing and photos, but mostly the excitement was watching it GROW!

"Nestled into the corners and other hidden places, the web holds her treasures..."

You've offered a treasure for those that find you. Keep it REAL whatever you do.

Drunken Master said...

An interesting year to say the least, Melissa. Whatever you end up doing, as long you keep us posted, I'll be reading.

Till then keep the hack stories rolling.

And Hope you had a great birthday.

schrodinger said...

Happy birthday and happy blogiversary!

Nicole said...

Happy birthday and congrats! A million unique visitors and a book deal in the works... that is quite an accomplishment.

Perhaps even more of an accomplishment is doing something that you are passionate about (even if that passion often manifests as hate) and refusing to settle for something that isn't challenging you.

It is inspiring to read your blog because you are doing something that you care about, even if sometimes it pisses you off. We should all have jobs and lead lives that push us to try new things and reflect on ourselves and our surroundings.

Good luck with the readings. I am sure you're great!

Kurt said...

I've always wondered if I can book you for a taxi ride (I'm in NYC).

Anonymous said...

catkins said...
I started driving a cab because I was broke and desparate for a job, I said it would only be for a few weeks. it's been 17 years....but now I own the comany! keep writing, we'll keep listening

BAF said...

Great wrap - great tales you tell, good luck with book, and most of all have a fab next 12 months.
You can always do a stint downunder doing whatever!

Belated Happy Birthday

kigogal said...

I've only been reading your blog for 7 or 8 months, but I've really enjoyed your writing and will certainly look out for your book.

Best wishes to you!!!!!! And for however long you're still doing it, happy blogging and driving. :-)

mutoni said...

congrats on the 1 year anniversary, and good luck w/ your other projects. i'm certain you'll continue to kick ass.

catkins said...

I started driving a cab because I was broke and desparate for a job, I said it would only be for a few weeks. it's been 17 years....but now I own the company! keep writing, we'll keep reading

LookinginmyRearviewMirror said...

Melissa, you actually inspired me to start my own blog. It was my love for your city that got me reading your blog and now I am so enjoying writing in my own blog. You have inspired many people to live life fuller.

I think it is awesome you are going to be adventurous and go find new things to do and hopefully to write about!

Blessings,

Lue

lugosi said...

Well, I hear there's an unexpected openning in the exciting field of swimming with stingrays.

caramaena said...

Happy birthday for you and your blog :)

Daniel said...

MP - You have been an inspiration to bloggers everywhere! A milion "unique" visitors means that people do want to hear what you have to say and appreciate how you're doing it. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you MP!! I know you'll be great at whatever twist/turn your life takes and I'll continue like so many others said to read w/ enthusiasm & appriciation. I thank you for your blog, and will be cheering you on from the wild west!

Andrea said...

Hey MP, Glad to see your blog today I have been checking everyday since your last post. Miss ya- Thanks for your update & Happy Birthday. Much success to you in any venture that you may take. You have brought alot of people together from all over the world who are captivated by your adventures. Just make sure that they publish enough copies of your book when it comes out, because I have a feeling that the world that is so enamord with you will be swarming to snatch up a copy. Best of luck

John Nez said...

Congrats on the book deal! Hope it all goes well...

I do notice that taxi drivers really have interesting lives (and blogs) compared to most of us poor deskbound rabbits who don't see much of the real world.

I wonder if there's not something to that...

I've enjoyed your blog a lot, especially since I used to live in NYC.

jn

Joann said...

I have been in my love/hate relationship with my taxi for a long time now. I started on March 31st 1982. I should have waited a day...April Fool's Day. ha-ha.

Good luck in whatever you do,Taxiladyjoann

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fun.

Cookster said...

It's obvious - you'll be a professional writer.

Someone please look at my blog and offer me a book deal!!!

http:/www.theperthfiles.blogspot.com

Ashley said...

Happy Birthday! You are so brave, I don't know how you do it. GO MP!!! Never give up, always follow your dreams and I hope that they lead you to a very happy place every time!

Cattyjackie said...

I have been lurking here since before you were mentioned with AP. You are a breath of fresh air and if you don't believe it, just check out all the "occupational" blogs. Whatever you decide to do with the other side of thirty, I hope you write about it. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures.

Vince said...

Thanks for writing! I'll keep reading wherever you end up.

EverJack1 said...

The previous comments make it seem like a 'going-away' party for you. I hope not. :o(

If it really is about over, I want to thank you for the 'ride', Mellisa.

You deserve a hellofa 'tip' with your book. I hope you get rich. :o)

Your Texas fan

EverJack1

Anonymous said...

Hey MP,

Before you go, can you direct me to another site that rips New Jersey as well as you do?

I have enjoyed your stories and "tell it like it is" descriptions of life behind the wheel of a cab in NYC. Thanks for sharing.

Once you finish your book, I think that the Travel Channel should have you host a show about Cabbies all over the world - their quirks, dangers, and idiosyncracies that make Cabbies such interesting characters.

Whatever you do - keep your wheels on the ground!

Chez Bez said...

Happy Blogiversary to you!

I love stopping in and reading about your days and nights. As a hotel bellman, your blog certainly helps me appreciate even more what our local cabbies go through. (It simply pains my heart to hail a cab for a guest who is only going down the block.)

My best to you with your public readings. My post today was about conquering fear, so what your success in that certainly resonates well with me.

Be well.

Pat T Hat said...

Go with ranch hand!

Pat T Hat said...

Oh shit how rude of me...Happy Birthday!!!

Nadia said...

I have enjoyed reading the wonderful funny stories you have and hopping one day to bump into you if i ever visit New York.

Here saying hello from the land down under

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you took some time to soak in the bliss (it's in there somewhere).
Thanks for the grins. I've enjoyed your vignettes (sp?) and tales of travails.
Stay true to yourself and to your writing. Fuck the bullshit and pretense and let yourself be your self.
Adios for now.
M

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. I hope you got some nice presents! :-)


Peggy

geewits said...

Good luck with whatever comes your way! Thanks for the stories.

jo said...

Whatever rows your boat and makes you happy - that's what you should go for.

Happy Belated Birthday.

xx

Vincent said...

Happy Bday and thanks for this year :)

Anonymous said...

Looks like we share the same birthday ... though I turned 32 and have a deskjob.

All best best!!!

* s

Riotbrain said...

I visited NYC last year and hav been longning to get back there soon. Your blog made that longning even stronger oddly enough.

Great work man!

Daniel Harrison said...

Wow what a blog!

I've only been reading for around one month, but when I found it I sat and read the whole content in one sitting, thats how great the stuff is :)

I love New York, I've been twice and I'm already planning my next trip, the city means a lot to me for some reason its very addictive at least for me just turning 22 years old, and your blogs partly to blame why I want to return.

I have a dream now and yes this also sounds corny, all I want to be is a cabby in new york city, it sure looks more fun than being a cabby in the UK..

Thanks for the blog its amazing :D

jMon said...

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Anonymous said...

MP

I am not a New Yorker or even American but a neighbour to the north. I started reading your blog around Christmas last year and have been a big fan since.
I know all city driving is crazy but having to deal with the people is probably the worst.
I have checked out and follow a few of the other blogs you have mentioned such as the Hungry Cabbie.
I would miss your taxi tales if you stopped driving but I support your future path whatever that is.

Happy birthday, congrats on the blog anniversary, the million viewers and your book. Don't forget to let us know when it comes out. I hope they release it in Canada or I will have to take a drive south to get one. I hope the million people that visited your blog buys your book. Could you imagin being on the best seller list? I can.

Barry.
barry010@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It is people like you that inspire others to step out of the box. Thanks for not falling into the rat race like the rest of us and keeping us entertained with your harsh yet eloquent style of writing. Will be looking for the book!!!

Anonymous said...

I have your site on my homepage and I have enjoyed reading!
Good luck in all of your endeavors.
Sacha

Heidi said...

So glad I ran across your blog... Good luck with... whatever!

Chicago said...

I just recently tuned in to your blog,I live in Chicago where traffic is said to move much faster, but we have our stories as well. I can truly see the humorous side and the not so funny. i once drove two uninvited relatives to Union Station, when on Michigan Ave. A cab made a U-TURN right into the side of my new vehicle, I wanted to get rid of them so bad, I said just forget about it and got back in to my damaged vehicle.Did NOT want them to miss the train and spend another night. OH!! The thoughts that go through our heads when we move through traffic is just hysterical sometimes....

Anyway- Lots of luck

n.l. said...

A taxi-novelist in the peace corp... now that's a cool idea. You could wear some kind of superhero taxi uniform while overseas...

Elizabeth said...

Way to go, MP. Congrats on the year and the deal and knowing it's time to move on. Hope you take us along for the ride.

Paul said...

Nice. Happy Birthday, you are exactly 364 days older than I. :)

Keep up the good posting!

Amanda said...

I'm a small town girl who discovered your blog in October, shortly after moving to Manhattan. Your writing has been very comforting to me as I made the transition from small town farmers daughter to big city lawyers wife. You are very inspiring and I can't wait until your book is published.

No matter what your next job is I think you should continue taking photos and blogging. BTW I think you would be EXCELLENT at any of the jobs you mentioned in this post. And if you need help taking care of all the animals that you could potentially rescue, just let me know...I am a farm girl afterall!

Dana said...

MP, Happy Flippin B-day!!
well i was thinking the same thing everjack, sounds like you are leaving us :( I wish you the best in wherever you land. Looking forward to your book.

Peace

P.S. Thank you for amusing us all

Anonymous said...

have enjoyed your blog, best of luck in your future ventures.

sharkeye

Rich L. said...

Happy late BD, MP. Things to consider after this gig:(1)join the Merchant Marine and write a wireless blog about being an "able bodied seawomen", and see the world ar the same time.(2)go on a book signing tour at local cabie union headquarters nationwide to raise money for the local or national cabbie orgs then join the MM.

Best of luck in whatever you do, and keep on blog'n. Your blog has jogged a lot of my memeories of NYC.
Rich L.

keith said...

I am sure that you will perform well at your next reading. Just relax and enjoy. Regardless of what job you take on next I hope that you keep on blogging. I look forward to every posting and check in every day.

jbwritergirl said...

Driving a cab in NYC makes you one of the bravest people I know.

Look forward to the book!

JB

Sayville Lez 68 said...

Please dont leave us so soon.

swoonie said...

wanted to chime in to say how much i love reading what you have to say. i've been trying to get to NYC for years, alone, and your blog has been a real connection for me. you're one impressive woman.

Anonymous said...

It has just been an awesome year. Be sure to bring us along wherever you go.

Seismic_Pirate said...

MP, Thanks for a great year. I've spent most of the last 12 months at sea and look forward to reading your next post every morning. It has been fun to take rides with a NYC cabbie while saling around next to the Arctic ice pack this month:) I can't wait for the book to come out and good luck with your next job, whenever, whatever that may be. While your contemplating your next move, think about working at sea. It has been interesting at times for me. Then again, maybe not-never mind.

Rebecca said...

Brava! And a belated happy birthday.

Victor said...

I read you all the time and find you so amazing. I live in michigan so alot of your stories leave me feeling like a small Amish Boy. I also have a photo blog check it out some time www.coarphoto.blogspot.com. thanks again for helping me through so mant days at work.
Much respect,Victor Coar

the lone beader said...

...ah...the power of blogging...Good luck in all that you do:)

Greg said...

A belated "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

Crzy Boss said...

Hey, what a inspiration you are. Wow!! Can't wait for the book. I read you all the time because I actually did the same thing for years when I drove Bus for 16 years. Now I'm in the office, but always said, "I should write a book, people would love it." Go Girl!!

asy said...

HIya!

I found your blog when you were up to about post #10. I loved it, and went back and read every post from the start.

I can understand why you have a book deal, you have a 'way with words' as cliche as that is.

I was never really interested in visiting NY, till I read this blog.

I hope, whatever you decide to do, you won't stop blogging. We'll follow your progress with interest.

I started my own blog, inspired by yours, and link to yours from mine. Of course, you've had some 5000 times as many people read this one. hehe

anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

asy :D

jay are said...

Whatever you wind up doing, bring us all along!!!

charam63 said...

It's been great looking forward to reading your blog this past year. It's been sporadic lately, I guess due to your other commitments.

Anyway, hope you have a good 31st year ahead of you! Good luck in figuring out the rest of your life. We are all just trying to figure out our own lives was well.

Anonymous said...

You need a vacation again !!

Anonymous said...

You are the only blog I bother reading regularly. You provide a unique view of NYC from a position where good writing is more than "unexpected".

On another note, I could really seeing Seinfeld producing a comedy series about you. It would be a lot better than most of the garbage on TV these days. ;)

Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Karen H said...

Best of luck to you!! I have enjoyed your blog so much. Thanks for writing and be safe.

SFCONTENT said...

I always check in with you from time to time...beautiful honesty happening...I lost my job recently and it's been soooo stressful, but I'm dealing. I wanted to ask you about GTA SA...as weird as it is, there's something redeeming about it. Just the sutting off of the brain?

EverJack1 said...

I read that you're not leaving us quite yet.

:o)


EverJack1

January said...

Happy Birthday! And congratulations on the book and the blog. I love reading about your experiences.

Jani L said...

happy bday!

I think your blog is the only non-technical/it blog i've really ever liked enough that i come back. thanks for a view to the human world :)

ps. million unique visitors means that about million people reads your blog. that's a huge amount of people! fifth of all the people in my country!

San Francisco Taxi Driver said...

Maybe you should buy a medallion.

Hawk said...

I've enjoyed your blog for the last 8 months. Having grown up in Jersey, in the shadow of NYC, I spent a lot of time there.I've been in Pa for the last 19 years so, I lost that connection .You helped me to reconnect through your pictures & blog entries. Thank You.. :}
A fellow Blogger...

Floridora said...

I checked back on your September 2005 archive as you suggested. You received 6 comments on that post. But on this one you have had at least 82. There's a message of love that grows there. I suggest you drive the Safari bus at Disney World next. Or maybe pilot their ferry. Whatever you do, have fun!

adrian said...

Happy Blog Birthday Melissa. You're right re the quicksand. The job bears some disturbing characteristics of addiction. However try identifying those elements you enjoy about the game in order to find your next position. Otherwise congratulations on your stellar year.
Regards,
Adrian

Randall said...

From Colorado,Rand says your a
great gal,I drove a cab in Anaheim Ca.and I only lasted two weeks got a ticket and quite, that was twenty years ago.Look foward to the
book.Adios.

Anonymous said...

I haven't lived in NY since 1965, so I enjoy getting a glimpse of what I am missing!
"Blog ON!"

Your Unique Visitor

MJ06 said...

Happy belated birthday and good luck.

CharterJames said...

Hey! 'Hack

I think this is you when you took that picture!

http://tinyurl.com/ro5nc

Pumuka said...

Happy birthday!!

and good luck with your book.

freddybeach cabby said...

I am certain that no matter what occupation you decide on you will be one of the people other people look to for advice and direction.I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading your book. cheers!

Anonymous said...

I bet your Dad is proud of you! You write beautifully! Keep it up!

Mara said...

Happy Birthday!

I'm one of those anonymous million that has been reading you for months and passing the link on to friends and family all over. I love hearing your tales, and as I approach my own 30th birthday (yay September babies!) and am searching for a job change, I am inspired by your bravery and success.

Take it all in, girl. You deserve it. Can't wait to buy your book.

Thanks for sharing yourself!
Mara
Los Angeles (NY born & raised)
www.marasong.com

Anonymous said...

How about becoming an ex-cabbie turned someone who writes about political stuff and doesn't sit on the fence?

Anonymous said...

you can't quit until you pick me up at least once!

Anonymous said...

reading in public can be scary sometimes, but the more you do it the better you'll get. you'll feel more comfortable. you'll be fine. and yes, great blog. i look forward to the book.

jo said...

PS. Tilda Swinton can also be seen in the children's film 'The Chronicles of Narnia'. She is a fantastic actress and her performance was chilling.

January said...

Congrats on one year of blogging and driving. Can't wait to read the book.

v.c. said...

Happy Belated Birthday! just realized that we're the same age. congrats on having a great year!

Sam said...

Happy belated Birthday !
lost touch with my blogs this past summer but yours is definitely one of my favorites. good luck on the book.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about the video booth archives on NY subways (NPR is now doing these weekly broadcasts--people can just go in the video booths and record their stories, no interview, no script); I think you might want to consider arhcival work. I don't know you--don't know what your passions are. But what you are doing now is archiving your experience; along with writing yours down, it might be worth thinking about making a career out of it--other stories like these. Have you heard of the Ephemera Society? They save flyers, book jackets; it's just a thought.

Anonymous said...

hi mellisa..i hav only seen newyork thru tv..ur blog really gives me picturesque description abt newyork..i feel lik im sitting in ur cab...keep up the gud work..happy belated bday..
by the way , im tito from kerala state,india.

JoeD_LA_Via_NYC said...

Great Blog, I grew up in Brooklyn, lived in Manhattan and just moved to L.A. from Queens. Your site has that special something that captures the edge of The Big Apple. Be nice to those Jersey folks they live in a tough place, remember all those nasty, tough edgy people that left NY in the 80's and 90's during the crack and graffiti days, well the moved to Jersey.